U.N. Releases Details on HIV/AIDS Assembly Events
"HIV/AIDS is a global problem of catastrophic proportions. The challenge is enormous, but we are not powerless to face it," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has made combatting the disease a "personal priority," said in a statement detailing events planned for the U.N. General Assembly's special session on HIV/AIDS, set to begin on Monday. At the assembly, expected to be a "watershed event in the fight against" HIV/AIDS, delegates are expected to adopt a draft Declaration of Commitment, prepared after several months of "informal talks," the main targets of which are as follows:
- Set "time-bound national targets" by 2003 to reduce HIV infection by 25% among 15- to 24-year-olds by 2005 in the "most affected countries" and by 2010 worldwide;
- "Ensure" by 2005 that "at least" 90% of 15- to 24-year-olds have access to information and services that can reduce their risk of HIV infection;
- Reduce the number of HIV-infected infants by 20% by 2005 and by 50% by 2010;
- Develop by 2003 national plans to "strengthen health care systems and address factors affecting the provision of HIV-related drugs," including antiretroviral medications;
- By 2003, develop -- and by 2005, implement -- national strategies to "provide a supportive environment" for AIDS orphans and children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Government representatives, consisting mostly of cabinet ministers and a few heads of state, will make formal statements and will also participate in four "round table" discussions. The round tables will focus on the following "key issues":
- "HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care," chaired by the prime minister of St. Kitts and Nevis;
- ""HIV/AIDS and Human Rights," chaired by the prime minister of Poland;
- "Socio-Economic Impact of HIV/AIDS," chaired by the health minister of Malaysia; and
- "International Funding and Cooperation," chaired by the president of Tanzania.
U.N. Building to Feature Illuminated Red Ribbon
This weekend, the U.N. secretariat building in New York will be lit with a "huge" red ribbon as a "dramatic visual curtain-raiser" to the special assembly, Agence France-Presse reports. The ribbon, created by covering 550 windows with red plastic film and leaving the building's lights on, will be visible on both sides of the 38-story building, and the image will be used on promotional materials as well as a special U.N.-issued stamp. "If a picture is worth a thousand words, this symbolic gesture will send a strong message of United Nations commitment to the battle against HIV/AIDS, and will focus international attention on the special session," a U.N. statement said (Agence France-Presse, 6/21). For more information on the special assembly and a schedule of events, click here. Please note this link is available to Web readers only.
Watching on the Web
Kaisernetwork.org will webcast coverage of the special assembly beginning Monday, June 25, at 9 a.m. ET until Wednesday, June 27, at 9 p.m. ET. Conference events to be webcast live include:
- All nine of the assembly's plenary sessions, beginning with the opening plenary session at 9 a.m. ET on Monday, June 25.
- "The Future of Global HIV Prevention" press conference, co-sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UNAIDS, at 1:45 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 26.
- "Youth Leadership and HIV/AIDS" panel discussion with "youth from around the world," co-sponsored by UNICEF and South Africa's loveLife program, at 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 27.